Johnson & Wales University A.S
Johnson & Wales University B.S Business Management
2016 Democratic Nominee for U.S. House in Texas' 3rd Congressional District
Our current immigration policy is based upon the following principles: the reunification of families, admitting immigrants with skills that are value to the U.S economy, protecting refugees and promoting diversity.The immediate challenge we are facing is to find a realistic solution to illegal immigration and to unify families through derivative benefits. Currently, spouses and dependent children are often times mathematically excluded from the dream of citizenship due to the passage of time. I support a path to citizenship that includes comprehensive background checks and employment requirements for illegal immigrants; thus ending the hopeless loop of bureaucracy that continually baits illegal immigrants with the empty promise of citizenship tomorrow. I also support our Dreamers; productive members of our society that have now, under the current administration, been put on a deportation count down to places they have never known. Congress must act to ensure the unity of families!
Without question, our military should intervene if there is an immediate threat to the U.S. and/or if there is a threat to or at the request of a U.S. ally in need. Any intervention beyond that should be the subject of vigorous debate and ultimate consensus of our legislature.
John Kennedy reminded us that, “A rising tide lifts all boats…” It is not the role of government to place constraints on those that achieve great levels of success. It is however, the role of government to safeguard the ability of all citizens to reach those levels. Americans need to earn more and with less debt. We must make college more affordable and accessible; including trade schools. We need to get back to a U.S. that celebrates the highly skilled just as we celebrate the highly educated. I believe Congress must work to foster the re-birth of manufacturing in this country and domesticate innovative production while retraining a retrain-able workforce. Education is the great escalator of socio-economic mobility. Finally, our minimum wage and social welfare programs do not allow for someone with drive and ambition to ever move out of poverty; they instead create generations of citizens sponsored by the state, not because they want to be, but because there is no other option.
The experience that I gained through my previous candidacy as the 2016 Democratic Nominee for U.S House of Representatives has allowed me to move past the business of learning to be a candidate and focus on the needs of our constituency, and most importantly, how to win a general election. Since the end of my 2016 campaign, my team and I have been meeting with citizens as well as business and community leaders around Collin County to better understand the needs of our constituency. I have held town halls, listened and discussed solutions at neighborhood gatherings and participated in community forums continuously for the past 13 months to ensure that I have a clear understanding of how I can be truly representative of Collin County. I understand that if elected, I will represent the vast tapestry of culture that makes up my community, not just people who look like me or contribute to my campaign. I will place my constituents ahead of personal interest and party loyalty.
The ACA was a historic piece of legislation that has helped millions of people obtain health coverage. Our responsibility going forward is to improve on the positives of the law – allowing people to buy and change their insurance without being concerned about pre-existing conditions and eliminate the negatives; such as the absence of an affordable basic plan. We need reform with a focus on driving down costs, not simply creating larger bureaucracies and we will not be able to achieve that until we have healthcare reform in concert with health insurance reform. When I speak about the Affordable Care Act, I am speaking from personal experience: I cancelled my personal coverage through my business and went to the Healthcare.gov Marketplace. I am a case study for the success of the plan, but I also recognize where it has fallen short and believe that there are changes that could greatly improve the success of the Act. Including, the expansion Medicaid coverage to include more Americans!
Our environment needs our HELP! Unfortunately, we have an administration that continually denies the science of climate change and has withdrawn the U.S. from a global community that is working to reverse the damage that man has caused. We are seeing the effects of sea level rise as far away as Bangladesh and as close to home as Florida. With a change of leadership, the U.S. can still lead the world in the effort to preserve our planet. Thirty years ago the world came together to combat the release of chlorine gases that were damaging our ozone layer. Today, our ozone layer is healing. The time to act is now! Solutions exist but, continued denial and inaction will lead to the extinction of oceanic eco-systems that support life around the world. So I ask Republicans, if you will not protect our environment then: What is your plan to re-settle our coasts? and Why can’t you see that businesses that emerge to protect our planet are just plain good for business?
B.S. from Trinity University
J.D. from the George Washington University School of Law
Lambda Legal Leadership Committee (‘16-17), President/American Business Women’s Assoc. (‘13-14), Board of Trustees/SBMEF Foundation (‘11-14), Co-Chair/DFW Human Rights Steering Committee (‘10), Chair/NTX GLBT Chamber of Commerce Board of Dir. (‘08)
We need to have options for those who are here illegally and who have demonstrated that they are willing to comply with our laws. When we give these folks a pathway to citizenship instead of creating a system that forces them to hide from authority, we also hold them accountable to the laws of our communities and the economic responsibilities that come with American citizenship. We need legislation to create a permanent fix for roughly 800,000 Dreamers and DACA recipients and to grant amnesty to those who have not committed a violent offense.
To help improve the visa backlog for family members and skilled professionals attempting to enter the country, I would support initiatives to expand the U.S. Immigration Courts’ handling of these cases. Because these courts are also responsible for overseeing deportation cases, we should reduce the practice of separating law-abiding, working immigrants from their families. This will likely improve the current wait times for visa applicants.
Diplomacy should always be our first response. It is our duty to those who serve in our nation’s military to be sure that we pursue peaceful avenues for negotiation before we ask them to risk their lives. Engaging our troops in foreign conflict should always be a last resort.
For too long, the U.S. has intervened in foreign governments and attempted to police other countries. Our constitution states that only Congress has the power to declare war. Our Congress needs to be reminded of their responsibility to balance the power of the President and establish firmer guidelines for engaging in conflict with other countries. Congress should seek help from top-ranking officials of the armed services in order to create these guidelines.
The U.S. should, of course, intervene in cases of a direct threat to the security of our nation and consider military action in cases of human rights violations defined by NATO - in which our allies also agree to take action.
If we want to support the middle and lower classes, we need to invest in policies which will directly impact them. Education is the great equalizer in our nation. By opposing the voucher system and providing greater financial support to our public schools, we can create expanded opportunities for individuals to experience mobility in their economic position. We can also ease the burden on low-income and middle-class families by providing access to affordable healthcare, so no American is forced to choose between paying their medical bills and paying their rent.
As National President of the American Business Women’s Association (2013-2014), I advocated for equal pay for women, particularly for women of color who face the greatest wage disparity. To allow us to close this gap, employers must be more transparent with their wages, and our government needs to hold businesses that are taking part in unequal payment based on gender, race, or parental status accountable for their actions.
Visibility and accountability will be the foundations of my role as a representative. I intend to build local coalitions, bringing together diverse segments of our community to engage in conversation, find common values, and work together toward solutions. No group lives in a vacuum. In order to resolve conflicts, we must first understand and respect one another. We must talk to each other, even if we do not agree on an issue. Often, when I collaborate with others, I find that their ideas to achieve a goal are better than my own.
I will hold town hall meetings. I do not intend to be the voice for my constituents, but rather to provide them a voice. For many in our community, it has been many years since they had the opportunity to share their concerns with their Congressional representative. I am prepared to work with everyone, regardless of their political affiliation, to ensure that the decisions I make in Congress are informed by the needs of the people.
I oppose a full repeal of all provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The ACA is far from perfect, but we should work to improve our current system rather than scrapping it and throwing the insurance market into chaos. For instance, we should continue to protect individuals with pre-existing conditions. Instead of defunding and dismantling Medicaid and Medicare, we should be expanding these programs. Our eventual goal should be to provide affordable health care coverage to all citizens. A single-payer healthcare system is possible in the United States, but this is not a change that Congress can reasonably make overnight. If we are going to build a long-term solution for healthcare in our country, we need to do so cautiously so that we are left with a system that works for everyone.
For legislation currently in the House, I would support H.B. 676. I also support S.B.1804.
Congress needs to approve long-term funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Plan. Roughly 400,000 Texas children and their families rely on CHIP for healthcare services.
Areas impacted by widespread natural disasters, from hurricanes in the Gulf to wildfires in California, continue to need support. The aid that Congress has provided so far is inadequate to rebuild the communities that are still recovering.
We need a long-term legislative solution for DACA, and a path to citizenship for the almost 800,000 Dreamers in our country.
Campaign finance reform needs to be a priority. We cannot expect our representatives to work for us while they cater to Super PACs and special interests.
Voting rights must be addressed so that all U.S. citizens have a voice. States like North Carolina and Texas need to end the practice of gerrymandering, which systematically discriminates against people of color.
Our leaders must oppose school vouchers, and strengthen our funding for public schools.
University of Texas at Austin: BA, Government; South Texas College of Law - Houston: Doctor of Jurisprudence
Anti-Defamation League – Board of Directors; Executive Committee; Co-Chair of Education Committee; Glass Leadership Institute Graduate and Co-Chair; Leadership 20/20 Committee; FBI - Citizens Academy Graduate
Law School Young Alumni Council
Immigration is an issue that is very personal to me – one that very directly and inexorably impacts my family. US immigration policy must have three main focuses: (i) keeping families in our communities together, (ii) helping immigrants remain self-sufficient and contributing to society and the economy, and (iii) preserving national security.
Dreamers and other law-abiding undocumented immigrants should have access to an expedited work visa-to-citizenship program so these people who are Americans, regardless of where they were born, can work, help their families thrive, keep paying taxes and contributing to American culture.
The US also needs to overhaul its system of governance and logistics for processing immigration requests, working with all communities, various industries, and even other nations to develop a faster, less costly, and more efficient system that still achieves security while protecting humanitarian concerns.
In my Law of Armed Conflict class in law school, I studied extensively the incalculable factors that go into the decision to engage in armed conflict, as well as the potential fallout of such a decision. To put American lives at risk in military action must be a decision made only to advance the security of freedom and liberty here at home in the US. This may have broad application – either a reactive response or a long-term plan to ensure stability elsewhere in the world for the ultimate benefit and security of the US. However, as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” As such, America must also act under the right circumstances to secure for others safety and freedom from crimes against humanity. Indeed, doing so makes the US more secure from external and internal threats. Where we see atrocities being committed against innocents and we have the ability to help them, I believe we have a calling to do so.
Our tax code is an important reflection of our priorities as a country, and we must continue to use tax incentives to propel Americans to achieve in education, entrepreneurship, and charitable giving. When our families and workers are thriving – when they have full bellies and roofs over their heads – they are able to volunteer, to innovate, and to support the economy. Thus, I support policies such as increasing the minimum wage, assuring family leave, and public pre-k to give American families the flexibility to succeed financially. I believe we benefit economically when our legislators focus on collaborators with workers, labor unions, and businesses to ensure that employees – the backbone of our economy – are able to take care of themselves and their families. In sum, I support policies that protect employees, ensure a healthy, thriving middle class, and allow Americans to better their situations in a way that is meaningful to them.
Representatives must remain a part of their districts if they are to be able to represent their constituents well. In addition to participating in town halls, I will have regular office hours – like a high school teach or college professor – back in the district office, to allow voters to come in any time during office hours to meet with me to discuss issue on their minds. I believe having a direct line of communication with the various communities in the district is crucial, and as a representative, I would continue to participate in and learn about all the various subgroups in our district, to ensure I’ve taken all voices into account when examining a given piece of legislation. Finally, I will keep my house in Plano as my home, returning from Washington as often as possible not only because it is home, but to ensure I remain in touch with the people and places I represent.
A healthy citizenry is a productive citizenry. Americans must have the ability to decide with their physician what medical care they need. Congress must reign in health insurance companies and the unabashed labyrinths they call their contracts. Much like antitrust and deceptive trade legislation, the health care discussion needs to move on to protecting Americans from paying exorbitant premiums, stopping health insurance companies from getting involved in health care decisions, and prohibiting pharmaceutical companies from pricing medications beyond the reach of Americans who need them. Moreover, women’s health must not be allowed to play second fiddle to men’s health. Too many medications and medical & hygiene products are either not covered by health insurance or are taxed, essentially penalizing women for being women. Health care is indeed a right, and it is high time America treats its citizens as deserving of this common dignity.
I believe voting rights will be pressing in the next session of Congress, especially after the 2018 general election. The Voting Rights Act is due to be augmented. It is time to establish of a non-partisan commission to draw district lines for any Federal election. Part of the commission’s enabling legislation must also include mandates and limits for the dimensions and shapes of any districts, and also make the commission available at States’ request to draw state-level district lines. Congress must also develop establish stronger penalties for voter suppression, make reporting such suppression easier and centralized, and Congress should enact common-sense, modern voter registration procedures and voting access. I also expect that the time will soon come for Congress to address the crushing student loan crisis that is holding back families of all ages. I will fight for practical solutions that ease these burdens while keeping borrowers responsible for repayment.
MBA - Amberton University
BS - College of Staten Island
I have beeing in the software industry for over 20 years. I began my career as a Police Officer with the City of Dallas.
Pertaining to the undocumented, their culture is American, we have already made an investment in their well-being. Therefore, I fully support DACA - Path to Citizenship, Temporary Protected Status, and reasonable immigration policies. Many DACA recipients are well educated, skilled and are already participating in the economy. I will support preferences given to those who study for and enter fields where the US experiences significant labor shortages, such as Medicine and Nursing, teaching etc., and for those entering the Military to "jump" the line and receive greater protections.
America's foreign interests is vast and will invariably results in the US being in the position of considering military intervention to protect vital economic interests or saving lives. However, all avenues, diplomatic, humanitarian and others must be fully exhausted before military intervention be considered. Military intervention should always be the last resort and should be conducted with the UN, along with the international community.
The US and the international community should act in a "timely and decisive' manner when states fail to protect their citizens from genocide, ethnic cleansing, even slavery. We must act in line with our values and convictions.
The focus on wage stagnation and inequality should be addressed. Closing the racial/Gender pay gap and increasing the minimum wage to $15/hr will benefit Americans in the long run.
Capital Investments - Overhauling and revitalizing our infrastructure and bringing it into the 21st century, reducing traffic congestion and providing other modes of transportation are worth pursuing. We do not yet have high speed rail.
We should increase our focus on International trade, with over 41 million jobs and 4.9 trillion in GDP involved. We have a global market place where 95% of the world's customers living outside the United States. We must remain engaged in the world and aggressively pursue trade agreements with new global partners. Global customers equate to good-paying American jobs should be the motivating factor to strengthen our ties with our current trading partners and negotiating new trade deals with emerging markets.
I will utilize all manner of communications technology available to stay in contact with my constituents. My offices will be fully staffed with well trained and passionate individuals so that constituents will be able to speak in person. When I am back in the district my time will be spent in town halls, meeting with the constituents at their party's offices and clubs.
Whether it is Medicare for All (Texas did not expand Medicare), adding a public option to the ACA or some other form, America can afford a well funded Universal Healthcare System. It should go without saying that a strong society requires well educated, healthy citizens and to take health care off the table will do more harm than good. The Universal system will provide healthcare with reduced administrative costs among other things.
Worker Rights Protection will need to be revisited in order to address the epidemic of sexual harassment and misconduct in the workplace. Congress should conduct hearings in this and repeal laws that are ineffective and enact legislature fully protect employee rights, then rigorously enforce it.
It is time to have the conversation about gun safety. It is without question, that I am fully supportive of the second amendment. However, the gun violence epidemic continues unabated. The Centers for Disease Control reports that over 36,000 Americans die and 85,000 are injured as a result of firearms in 2015, the latest report available. The cost associated is conservatively estimated to be $45 billion including lost wages, this does not include long term care, police investigation, and incarceration costs etc. In the current environment, we are besieged with mass shootings. I believe that the public good must be given serious consideration with respect to this matter.